How to De-Stress this Holiday Season
The holidays, although filled with yummy cookies, delicious food and precious time spent with our family and friends, can be a very stressful time of year. There is so much pressure to plan dinners, go shopping, decorate our homes, and entertain guests and loved ones all while still managing the stress we deal with daily from our jobs, families, and crazy schedules. It can be easy for us to feel overwhelmed! There is so much to do, for so many people, in such a short amount of time. On top of it all, the days are shorter and it’s hard to stay energized when it’s already dark by the time most of us get out of work.
But don’t fret, stress and anxiety don’t have to be part of this holiday season!
We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to help you stay stress-free during these winter months. Taking positive actions and following some of these suggestions can help you avoid the common chaos many of us get lost in. This is one of the best times of the year and you should be able to enjoy it! Let us help you.
Check Your Expectations
One of the biggest causes of holiday stress is the unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves. We buy more presents than we need to, bake more cookies than necessary, and ruminate over tiny decorating details that only you will notice! The holidays are supposed to be about spending time with the people we love and being grateful for everything we have. Sometimes more is less and simplifying things can make our experiences more meaningful and enjoyable.
Make a Gratitude List
Take time to appreciate everything in your life you are grateful for. This can put things into perspective and help you realize what’s important and what may be causing unnecessary stress. Gratitude is an often-overlooked emotion that we don’t practice on a consistent basis. By writing down the things you are grateful for, your mind will begin to recognize gratitude, and you will begin to notice in the present, how lucky you are.
One Step at a Time
Don’t get overwhelmed by your lengthy to-do list. Focus on completing one thing at a time rather than worrying about the entire list. You are only one person and there is only so much time in the day. One tip you could try is delegating some of your tasks. Ask a family member to bring the green bean casserole this year, send your spouse to the store to do the last minute Christmas shopping, or have your kids clean the house while you bake cookies. Compromise with yourself on some of the tasks others can help you with!
Don’t Forget to Breath
“Practicing a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders,” says Andrew Weil, MD, founder, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. One exercise Dr. Weil recommends is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. First, exhale completely through your mouth while making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth while making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths. This exercise will gain power with repetition and acts as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system which will calm you down and help relieve your symptoms of stress and anxiousness.
The holidays can be stress-free if you follow these four easy steps. You deserve to enjoy this time of year. Happy Stress-Free Holidays!